A Midsummer Notebook's Update: July 2017 at Code&Quill
Hey everyone! Let's jump right in.
Much of our recent work has been invisible, back-end kind of stuff. (Growth is great, but growth requires infrastructure!) Most of that's still boring, so we'll just mention the parts that affect you.
But still, we've made strides on the exciting parts of our brand: new products, new partnerships, new content, new chances to win stuff, and more opportunities to cast your votes at our table.
We'll even make it easy—scan this article for this color to see confirmed rumors and upcoming insider detail!
We're sorry for being out of things. Let's talk about it.
We're sorry. Really, we are. We feel your pain.
While selling out of something is a "good problem" for us, please believe us: we'd rather have your notebook to sell you!
So you're in the loop, here are three reasons this has happened:
- We couldn't predict the future (well enough, yet). For one thing, more of you showed up sooner than we expected. Also, some things ran out faster than others because we couldn't perfectly predict how each notebook would sell.
- Our manufacturing process takes some time, as does transport from manufacturer to here. When you think about it, even a literal factory needs time to fully build, package, and case thousands of notebooks from scratch. Then, that multi-ton shipment has to travel halfway around the world. In all, it takes a few weeks—even if there's no delay. There's usually at least one delay, like customs (which we can't control).
- We've tried to improve product design over a shorter time. Our Travelers have been out for a while. To be honest, we could have ordered more Travelers made a bit sooner than we did. But we knew we wanted to improve the design—and not just for looks, but to "sand off" one of the few areas of the Traveler prone to defects. Why multiply a weak spot for 6 extra months when a 3-week delay might fix it forever?
Here are three things we're doing to help it for the future:
- We installed waiting-list functionality on our product pages. Lots of people asked if they could be notified when their notebook of choice came back in stock. We've installed that feature right on each product page—so if it's out, drop in your email and you'll get an automatic notification as soon as it's back!
- We're ordering smarter (and bigger). As we understand everyone's notebook preferences better (and have more people's money to work with), we're ordering larger quantities of notebooks to get ahead of your demand. (At least, until the holidays. All bets are off then.)
- We're continuing to diversify. This year, we started with 10 products for sale. We've recently added two accessories and we're getting ready to introduce more stuff (more below). That should help spread things out... unless you just want everything.
What's In, What's Out
ON THEIR WAY — gray Monoliths with dual indentation rule
RUNNING OUT! — white Monoliths with dual indentation rule
Soooooooo... we're finally stocking accessories. =]
(The Origin-sized Quiver will also fit the Traveler, BUT you need an adapter for it to work correctly on the softcover. We'll be stocking those soon.)
We've also built brand-new bundles for the summer. We think y'all will really like these collections. No leftovers here—we've got our most popular varieties in play AND we're including the Quiver in a couple choices. See which bundle archetype might match you... if you find a winner, it's 10% off just for being awesome. =]
What's Coming Up
Special Editions. We've been saying for a long time that they're coming back... but this time, we've actually gotten special-edition samples made.
It's an old-world nautical style... deep navy, with goldenrod accent pages and bookmark. Minimal branding—just our ampersand debossed into the corner of the cover, but without any colored infill.
Those are next in line for our factory—so start setting aside pocket change!
(And remember... whenever it's a Special Edition, we make them ONE time. When they're out, they're out!)
Custom-made content (in collaboration with customers). When we start conversations with customers, we try to listen and think as openly as possible.
For example, we recently had a handful of people ask: how does our paper respond to different inks? We know our product, of course—but we don't know how it interacts with everything out there. And customers weren't just curious about different fountain pens; they wanted to know about things like watercolor, too. We wanted to have informed answers, but we realized we couldn't get those answers except from people who'd know what to try.
So we wrote them back. We said: we're curious too. So we'll give you something (either a discount or tester notebook) and ask you to test what you've got. Write us back, send pictures, and we'll publish the results. We're sure others are curious, and you'd be helping them out (not to mention us!).
We've already gotten a couple of reports back, and we'll be putting something together on the blog soon. Y'all continue to impress us with your awesome. =]
More contests! In the past couple of months, we've hosted two contests on social media: one asking what it means to be a creative, another showing off your notebooks in their natural "wild" habitats. Both were smashing successes—so we're going to keep doing them!
Our plan is to launch at least one social contest per quarter. So keep your eyes peeled and your wits handy, because there will be more chances to win free stuff!
New round of customer-survey feedback opportunities. Along the same thinking, we've seen great results from asking our broader customer base to submit feedback. (You can see the roundup from the first Customer Awesomeness Survey here.)
We're going to be launching another customer survey soon! We'll want you to participate, so we'll be sure to notify everyone by email and social media when it's on. (Like last time, you'll receive something for your efforts.)
Want to ask a question or make a suggestion? Shoot us an email! Your best bet is to write Kevin directly—he runs customer service and the blog. =]
And of course...